Book Review Club ~ The Diviners

The facts are these… (I’ve been watching Pushing Daisies on Netflix).

It is once again the first Wednesday of the month, and thus time for Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club.

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@Barrie Summy

I’ve actually done quite a bit of reading, much of it from authors I’ve already featured here on the blog (mostly as a part of the Book Review Club).

  • I read the latest Flavia de Luce mystery and gave it five stars on Goodreads.  This one might be my favorite in the series so far!
  • I read the latest Vish Puri mystery and gave it five stars as well.  Love these India-set mysteries!
  • I also read City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn. I gave it four stars just because I thought the heroine went a little too hard on the hero.  She was kinda mean…
  • Finally, I read all 500+ pages of the Rita-nominated The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley.  It was excellent, but I gave it four stars because I wanted more of the framework story.

All in all, I’ve read some really excellent books lately! However, I’ve not quite finished reading the one I’m reviewing here, namely THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray.

The-Diviners-Libba-Bray-Paperback-880x1340From Amazon:

“Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.”
This summary doesn’t really touch on the scope of this novel.  Evie may be the main character, and one of the Diviners: individuals with special powers to do things like step into dreams, learn a person’s secrets merely by touching something that belongs to them, become “invisible” to people at will, etc, but this story is told from many viewpoints, and there are plenty of side stories feeding into the central one–the murders.
What do I like about this novel so far?
  1.  The writing is, at turns, wonderfully lyrical and conversationally spot on.
  2. It feels important, intense, urgent, as if every page is speeding you towards a conclusion you’re quite desperate–but a little afraid–to read.
  3. There are plenty of fascinating characters.  Until this morning I would have said that only one of them left me feeling a little ‘meh,’ but suddenly, he has a secret past, and for now, I forgive him.  Evie is quite the spunky heroine–I fear she might soon get her comeuppance…
  4. 1920’s Manhattan is a character all its own.
  5. The knowledge that this is a series.  It makes me think that these Diviners, who do not yet know about each others’ abilities, will come together gradually, sort of
  6. 16060716like a set of young Avengers whose powers deal in the supernatural.  The next book in the series, Lair of Dreams comes out in August this year!
  7. Those covers!!
So…1920s…Manhattan…murder…supernatural…occult…bright young things…coming of age…glamour…mystery…
If you have a penchant for any or all of these things, this book might be for you.
I leave you with a little sample from the beginning:
“Outside, the wind lingers for a moment at those lighted windows; then, with a gusty burst of energy, it takes its leave and scuttles down the sidewalks.  It twines itself briefly around the cloche hats of two fashionable young ladies gossiping about the tragic death of Rudolph Valentino as they walk a poodle along the East River.  It moves on, down neon-drenched canyons, over the elevated train as it rattles about Second Avenue, shaking the windows of the poor souls trying to sleep before morning comes…”
(Don’t forget to click on the typewriter for the rest of this month’s reviews!)
Posted in book review club, books on 04/02/2014 12:55 am


  1. I’ve loved other books by Libba Bray but didn’t read this one since I’m not into occult but your glowing review makes me want to take a second look.

    • Alyssa Goodnight

      Hmmm. I’m not a huge fan of it myself, Sarah, and it’s definitely a theme in this novel, but you might still enjoy it. I suspect you’d enjoy the writing if not the story. :)

  2. I’ve heard a lot about this one, but haven’t gotten to it yet. Obviously, this must change! Thanks for jiggling my elbow…

    • Alyssa Goodnight

      You might want to carve out some time…it’s LONG! I’ve only just passed page 300.

  3. I’d completely forgotten to add this book to my TBR pile. I knew about it, but it somehow slipped through the cracks. Thank you!!!

    • Alyssa Goodnight

      I hope you enjoy it, Barrie! It definitely has a lot going for it!

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